Sea History 106 - Winter 2003-2004

Page 5

shorrly, Joh n Rodgers) had assumed che com mand. I have also received quescio ns o n ch e ironic ro le reversal in suppo rt of o ur fl edgling navy becween Jefferso n and Adams (iro nic because Adams is co nsidered ro be che Facher of ch e A merican Navy). Bue I muse say che articl e is correcc. Som e cen yea rs pri o r to Washingto n's Navy Bill pass ing Co ngress (1 794) , Adam s, in his new rol e as a peace co mmiss io ner, wroce to John Jay (December I 0 , 17 84): "Some are of the o pinio n chat o ur crad e in che Medicerranea n is no c wo rth che expense of che presencs [cribuce] we must m ake to che piracical scares to obca in creacies wich chem. Ochers chi nk it humiliacing to creac wich such enemies of che h u man race and thac ic wo uld be more manly to fi gh c chem . The firsc, I ch ink, have noc calculaced che value of o ur Medicerranean crad e . ... T he las e have more spi ric chan prudence. As lon g as France, H olland , England, ch e E mperor &c will submit to be tribucari es to ch ese ro bbers, and eve n encourage ch em, to w hac purpose should we make war u po n chem ? T he co ncesc wo uld be unequal . T hey can in jure us ve ry sensibly, buc we canno t hur t chem in che smalles c degree ... ic would be very imprudenc for us to encertain any cho ugh cs of concending wich chem ... ." Four m onchs lacer, T ho mas Jefferso n wroce: "You will p ro bably find che cribuce to all these powers make such a proporci on o f che federal caxes as chac every man will feel chem sensibly when he pays ch ese caxes. T he q uestio n is whecher peace or war will be ch e chea pesc? But it is a quescio n char sho uld be addressed to our ho no r as well as our ava ri ce .... T he low opinio n chey [che nacio ns of Euro pe] encercai n of our powers cannoc fail to involve us in a naval war." And some fo ur mo nchs afrer chac, in July 1786, he wroce again, this cime to Adams, " ... however, if ic is decided to buy a peace, l know of no reaso n fo r delaying che operacion, bu c l should p refer obcaining ic by wa r. Juscice is in favor of chis opin io n. H ono r favo rs ic. le will procure respecc in Eu ro pe .... l chink ic lease expensive and equally effeccual. l ask a flee c of 150 gu ns .. .. " And so it wenc; Adams concinuing to favor paying the u ibure as che cheap-


er road to peace and Jefferson decrying it in favor of war. l e would not be until Wash ingto n's N avy Bill was passed (at the end of his p residency) and the Q uasi-War with France was looming char Adams (ac che sta rt of his own p residency in 1797) wo uld reverse himself. Of course, when the figh ting began wich France in 1798 and, wich che "subscrip tio n warships" com bined wich the ch ree frigates buil c in 1797 u nder che Navy Bill , our Navy was keeping the merchan t fl eec safe fro m che French privaceers in the Cari bbean , the citizenry sudden ly reversed cheir sea nce and suppon ed him . Jefferson , afrer the Barbary Wars ended , felt a coastal defe nse navy all that was necessary. H e o rd ered mosc of o ur warshi ps p uc "in ordi nary" and began b uilding gunboats in New Yo rk, Rh ode Island, and C o nneccicuc. 18 10 wo uld see che re-comm issioning of che "real" navy as problem s wich Englan d becam e uncenable. I ho pe chac che forego ing will clear up any confusio n lingerin g fro m my arcicl e o n chac co nfli cc and apologize fo r any misco ncepcio ns I mighc have caused. W ! LLLAM H. W H ITE Rumso n, New Jersey

Courageous Calvin I recendy received che Aucu mn 2003 Sea H istory. I have enjoyed che magazine, and will look forwa rd to che nexc issue. I did

notice o n page 27, "Kids Maki ng Sea Histo ry," ch ar ic mencio ns chac C al vin G raham was awa rded a Purple H eare durin g che Bacde of San ca C ruz in th e Sou ch Pacifi c in 1942, and chat che USS South Dakota was fendin g off kamikazes whi le che aircrafr carrier USS Yorktown was sinking nea rby. T he Yorktown was a ship chat some of my relacives wo rked on, and I wo uld like to clarify an erro r. T he fi rst Yorktown was a gun boat and sank when ic ran agro und o n 6 Septem ber 185 0. T he seco nd Yo rktown was a sloop chac was decommissio ned ac Ma re Island, Califo rni a and so ld to a priva ce company on 30 Sepcember 192 1. The chird Yorktown was a carrier sunk during che Bacd e of M idway on 7 June 194 2. T he fo urch Yorktown was also a carrier, buc ic was no r laun ched uncil 2 1 January 1943 and is now berched ac Parri oc's Po int, So uch Carolina as a museum . So l guess so me cla rifi ca ci o n wo uld be in o rder as ic appea rs char che Yorktown (an y of ch e fo ur) could noc have been chere as mencio ned in ch e article. Thank yo u. P F.TF.R KALK

Vallejo, CA

Error noted: it was the USS H o rn ec sinking in the distance during the Battle of Santa Cruz on 26 October 1942, whilst "courageous Calvin Graham" was wreaking heroics all over the deck ofthe Sou ch D akota. D AVID ALLEN

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